Missouri's Little Dixie, a region of north central counties that stretch along the Missouri River, hosted an influx of southern farmers prior to the Civil War and, in turn, transformed into a "slave belt."
This Antebellum period lingers today as several historic buildings and slave quarters still survive. Founders of Missouri's Little Dixie Heritage Foundation, based in Arrow Rock, hope to shed light on historic landmarks.
"In Missouri, a lot of people don't even know what these (slave cabins) are. In the south people know," said Gary Fuenfhausen, president of the foundation.
Earlier this spring, the foundation hosted Missouri's Little Dixie Slave Cabin Project with help from a $2,100 grant from the Missouri Humanities Council. A recent press release stated, "State educators and leaders in historic preservation and history attended the six-day event, which generated ... new friends to save Missouri's slave cabin architecture and slave history."
The event provided tours and education across 17 counties to promote historical awareness.
"We should start embracing it more than we do. There are still families in this area that do still have this history," Fuenfhausen said.
The organization primarily began after a Gladstone-area museum tore down a slave quarters, according to Fuenfhausen.
"I don't blame them ... They had mislabeled it as another type of building," he continued.
But that mistake resulted in the demolition of just one of many historic buildings across the nation since the 1970s -- history disappearing before the eyes of Missourian's.
Spring 2012 marks the sesquicentennial of Marshall's Civil War battle. Nearly 150 years ago, General Shelby and his troops raided the eastern hills of town and, shortly thereafter, the courthouse was burned to the ground.
For Fuenfhausen, it's upsetting to hear that "all history is in Europe because it's old."
"No. We have it here if we don't keep tearing it down," he continued.
The renovation of Saline County Courthouse was a step, he said. Costs reached $3 million and the project spanned nearly a year and a half.
Future plans for the foundation include designing a map of the Little Dixie area and showcasing pre-Civil War locations. The organization can currently be found on Facebook for information or support.
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